Smiting Goes Awry
Sunday, July 17, 2005
(SNN Colorado) Prosecutors have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case in which a convicted murderer’s death sentence was overturned. The sentence was overturned because jurors consulted the bible during their deliberations.
The sentence was overturned because jurors consulted the bible during their deliberations.
Jurors were asked to decide the fate of Robert Harlan. Harlan used his car to run a cocktail waitress, Rhonda Maloney, off the road. He then raped her at gunpoint. A witness who attempted to help was shot twice by Harlan and remains paralyzed from the waist down.
Some say that the bible use was appropriate, because Harlan’s defense attorney quoted passages about mercy from the bible to justify life without parole over a death sentence, thus including the bible as an acceptable piece of evidence.
However, when the jury deliberated, they came down firmly on the “eye for an eye” side of the bible vs. the more touchy-feely “New Testament”. They decided that God wanted Harlan firmly smote, and probably had just misplaced his lightening bolts. "I still stand firm that whatever happens to him is God's will," said Juror Lana Ochoa.
But once again, God’s will is left undone.
But once again, God’s will is left undone. Because the case was one of capital punishment, the review skipped the standard appeals level and went directly to the Colorado Supreme Court. The DA in the case says the death penalty decision should stand because Harlan’s crimes were “extraordinarily evil”.
The Supreme Court of the United States will decide in October, whether they will hear the case. It is unknown whether they will decide that the “extraordinarily evil” plea is worthy of their time.
This is just one of many recent cases in which religion has been applied to decide court cases. Just recently in Mellings, NY, a man was proclaimed guilty after his jury foreman used a level 16 paladin to detect evil on the defendant. The conviction was later overturned by and appeals court which ruled it improper that the possibility the defendant was lawful evil was not discussed.
If you're a 'bible thumper' (no offense to Christians but I just love that expression) on a jury panel, certainly 'The Word' will be the deciding factor in your mind but don't let it come out of your mouth.
For some reason common sense and Christian ethics always bump heads.
I think the Bible is the first place to set the precident, that the state has a right to make secular laws and has a right to expect them to be followed and obeyed. If a one disagrees, they are still responsible to the state. One may not act if it is wrong, but they must still accept the authority and law of the state.
Further more, on an off topic, I that a juror that does not decide by the law of the state on the book should be punished.
The Balliff seen me with the Bible and she did not say anything. I had no idea it was wrong.